You have Chris Paul, asking – demanding – for a trade, hanging suspended in limbo at the fingers of the master puppeteer David Stern, playing for a team with no talent in a city where no one shows up on game nights. You have Dwight Howard going back and forth, worried “Will this make them hate me? Will they call me names?” One day he wants out. The next he never wants to leave. You have J.J. Barea, who recently broke the traditional sports code: left a championship team for more money. He went for the cash, and wasn’t looking back. But then you have Paul Pierce, the old cowboy who never left his post, and survived the Antoine Walker era, coaching changes, a nearly fatal stabbing, an 18-game losing streak and the steely glare of Red.
As Jessica Camerato wrote on CSNNE.com, Pierce first practiced loyalty way back in high school. He was only a sophomore and thought transferring from Inglewood to Crenshaw – a state title team – would solve his problems. But he didn’t fit, missed his friends, had some unfinished business on the court, and after he took advice from Steven Hosey, his older brother, Pierce transferred back home just a week after his initial exodus. By the end of that season, he moved up to varsity and started to get minutes. In the words of his high school coach, Patrick Roy, a year later, “he was an All-American.” Two years later “he was off the charts.”
Pierce told CSNNE.com:
“I think even since back then, the loyalty that I was able to show just by staying at that school and not giving up on them even though we weren’t that good at the time is something that’s just been instilled in me ever since I was a young kid.”